For years, NISMO has been the in-house tuning division for Nissan cars such as the Nissan 370Z and Nissan Sentra, but now Nissan's luxury brand is looking to get into the performance-tuning business with its new Infiniti Performance Line. Luxury competitors Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Cadillac and Lexus all offer souped-up versions of their luxury cars, and now Infiniti is on the verge of doing the same thing starting with the 2011 Infiniti G later this year.
During the media launch of the 2011 Infiniti QX luxury SUV, Infiniti's vice president, Ben Poore, indicated that the brand would launch a performance-oriented model this summer, and since then the beans have been spilled on Infiniti's high-performance division by a trademark filing for both 'IPL' and 'Infiniti Performance Line.' This new specialty division of Infiniti will offer parts upgrades that include turbochargers, superchargers, cat-back exhaust, high-performance mufflers, sport brakes and returned suspension components as well as styling upgrades to both the interior and exterior. One interesting note is the inclusion of off-road headlights which could be directed toward the new QX or even the FX.
Similar to how NISMO tunes Nissan models, it seems that the Infiniti Performance Line will focus on retuning the cars rather than installing a high-horsepower engine like most of the competition does, but this will likely help keep the starting prices relatively low as well. The Mercedes-Benz AMG, BMW M, Audi S, Lexus F and Cadillac V series cars all feature substantial engine upgrades with even more substantial price increases. For example, the BMW 335i, which competes directly against the G37 Sedan, has a starting MSRP of $31,845 in base trim, but the starting price of the sport-tuned, 414-hp BMW M3 Sedan jumps up to $55,400. One thing Infiniti has going for it is that the G is the only car that competes against the BMW M3 that is available as a sedan, coupe and convertible - whether or not Infiniti plans to offer the IPL on all three body styles is a whole other story.
It's unclear what sort of naming system Infiniti will use or what sort performance improvements these models will deliver, but the first car to sport the IPL upgradews is likely to the be the new G including the 2011 Infiniti G37 Coupe. The Infiniti G37 IPL will make its official debut at the Pebble Beach Concours D'Elegance in August, and it is teased in the lower image of the above picture. Adding a supercharger or turbocharger could greatly increase the output of the standard G37's 3.7-liter VQ37VHR V-6, but a to be competitive against the likes of the M3, Cadillac CTS-V, Lexus ISF, Audi S4, Audi S5 and the Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG, the G37 would need to be at least in the low- to mid-400 hp range.
Following the G37 Coupe, the performance upgrades could also be added to other Infiniti models including the all-new Infiniti M56 which would make for one wicked luxury sport sedan. In its base form, the M56 is powered by a direct injected 5.6-liter V-8 that produces 420 horsepower and 417 lb-ft of torque. Adding forced air induction could give the M56 power output that equals or surpasses the BMW M5 that produces 500 horsepower from a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V-10. Unlike the BMW, Infiniti's high-performance mid-size sedan could offer all-wheel drive which would give the car a competitive advantage in cornering maneuvers and handling performance.